Volunteer Protection Act of 1997

97-490 -- Volunteer Protection Act of 1997

Updated June 24, 1997


The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 (VPA), P.L. 105-19, became law on June 18, 1997, when the President signed S. 543, 105th Congress. As passed by the Senate, this bill was identical to H.R. 911, 105th Congress, as reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary on May 19, 1997 (H.Rept. 105-101). The VPA, whose effective date is September 16, 1997, immunizes individuals who do volunteer work for nonprofit organizations or governmental entities from liability for ordinary negligence in the course of their volunteer work. It also limits punitive damages and noneconomic damages against volunteers who are held liable. It does not affect the liability of nonprofit organizations or governmental entities. The purpose of the VPA is to encourage people to do volunteer work for such nonprofit organizations and governmental entities. However, it allows states affirmatively to declare it inapplicable to suits in their state in which all parties to the action are citizens of the state.